Long ago, Yankees closer Mariano Rivera announced that the 2013 season would be his final one. Now, though, Yankees manager Joe Girardi would like the greatest reliever in MLB history to reconsider and come back in 2014. Here are Girardi's comments, per ESPN New York:
"I don't see any reason why he couldn't do it next year, I don't. He's made it pretty clear that he doesn't want to [return], but I always say, you know, January rolls around and sometimes you have a different feel about what you want to do. ...
"I'm sure I'll talk to him at some point in the offseason, and ... I'll tell him when the season's over, 'Take a month. Take a month and a half, two months, and make sure this is really what you want to do. Because once you do go, it's hard to come back.'"
As for Rivera, the Girardi's remarks were of course posed to him, and Rivera of course insisted that he's still retiring after the current season. Girardi himself says he believes that Rivera will indeed walk away as has been the plan for some time.
Still, it's not hard to understand Girardi's motivation. Rivera, even though he turns 44 in November, has this season pitched to a 2.12 ERA, 1.14 WHIP and 5.11 K/BB ratio in 51 innings of work. The cutter is still sharp, and there's every expectation that Rivera could continue pitching at a high level if he chose to, age notwithstanding.
So when the subject is Mariano Rivera, you can't blame a manager for dreaming.